Exploring Monticello: A Guide for Young People

Lesson Plan


Grade Level

Elementary School

Author Info

Lindsay Kamide
Charlottesville, VA 22903

Type of Lesson



1 hour



Students will explore Monticello through A Guide for Young People.  Students will build their knowledge based on an anticipation guide, information within the guide, and guided discussions with peers throughout the lesson. Exploring Monticello: A Guide for Young People includes many nonfiction text features. This lesson will also explore how to read headings, subheadings, text boxes, and captions to fully comprehend the information in a text.

Prior Knowledge

1. Students should know Monticello is the home of Thomas Jefferson.

2. Monticello is located in Virginia.

3. Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the United States of America.

State Standards

Virginia Standards of Learning: Reading

3.6 The student will continue to read and demonstrate comprehension of nonfiction texts.

c) Preview and use text features

j) Use reading strategies to monitor comprehension throughout the reading process

3.4 The student will expand vocabulary when reading

f) Use vocabulary from other content areas

Virginia Standards of Learning: History

3.11The student will explain the importance of the basic principles that form the foundation of a republican form of government

b)identifying the contributions of Thomas Jefferson

Common Core Standards:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.1 Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.5 Use text features and search tools (e.g., key words, sidebars, hyperlinks) to locate information relevant to a given topic efficiently.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.10 By the end of the year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grades 2–3 text complexity band independently and proficiently

Objectives/Learning Outcomes

1. The student will be able to recognize and analyze nonfiction text features for additional information.

2. The student will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the grounds of Monticello and some of the people who lived and worked there.


  1. 10-15 minutes

    Introduction to text features: Ideally the introduction would be a whole group lesson.

    1. Write on the board the key text feature terms the students are going to use today in their research: heading, subheading, caption, and text box. Ask the students if they are familiar with any of these words. Give the students a moment to think, pair, and share their thoughts.

    2. Show the students the Text Feature Analysis: Griffin Discover Room handout. Ask the students to investigate the text features that have been labeled, and with a partner adjust their definitions of the text features as necessary.

    3. Lastly, ask the students, “Why do we need to read headings, captions, subheadings, and text boxes?” The students should come to the conclusion that these text features contain information that is not always contained within the main part of the text. Also, headings and subheadings can help guide their search for specific answers.

  2. 10 minutes

    Introduction to the anticipation guide: Can be done in small reading groups so the teachers can differentiate for varying reading abilities.

    Discuss with your students that today they are going to learn many fascinating facts about Thomas Jefferson and his home Monticello. They are going to learn things about Thomas Jefferson that their parents probably don't know! Hand out the anticipation guide to the students and tell them they are going to make a guess for each question of whether they think each fact is true or false. You may let them discuss this as a group, or circle their answers individually. (Tip: I usually get them to circle their answers in pen or marker).

  3. 15-20 minutes

    1. Once the students have made their guesses, hand outExploring Monticello: A Guide for Young Visitors.

    2. Remind the students that they can find all of the answers within the Guide, but they will have to use the heading, subheadings, captions, and text boxes to locate all of the information.

    3. Have students highlight the guide when they have found the correct answer. When they write their answer in the anticipation guide, they must also write the fact that proved the answer to be true or false.

  4. 5-10 minutes
    1. If students finish their anticipation guide early, they can work on the additional fun fact search, or write their own additional questions for a friend to find the answer.

    2. Once all the students have completed the anticipation guide, have them check their answers with a partner. Ask the students if there were any facts that were difficult to find. What text features did they use to find the answers?

Related Assets

Handouts and Downloads


  1. Have the students read another book about Thomas Jefferson or one of his contemporaries. Then have them create an anticipation guide to give to another student.
  2. Give students time to look through an assortment of non-fiction texts to go on a text feature hunt. Have them label text features they find within the book with post-it notes, and give students time to share their discoveries with the class.
  3. Have students choose a section from Exploring Monticello: A Guide for Young People and allow them time to work in groups to create a poster or PowerPoint about one aspect of Monticello or Thomas Jefferson’s life.